Self unhappy despite Illinois’ rout of Ohio State

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 10, 2003

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Coach Bill Self found little fault with Illinois after a dominating first half he called his team's best of the season.

There was plenty to go around by the end of the game, though.

The 16th-ranked Illini (16-4, 6-3 Big Ten) built a 32-point lead early in the second half against Ohio State on Sunday only to have it cut in half with about eight minutes left. Illinois held on for a 76-57 victory, but Self was not pleased with his players' effort in the second half.

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''The last 15 minutes was probably the worst 15 minutes of basketball we have played this year,'' he said. ''But still, the first 20, 25 may have been the best we've played all year.''

Brian Cook scored 22 points and reserve Roger Powell added 14 for Illinois, which made a season-high 12 3-pointers in winning its 14th straight home game.

The Buckeyes trailed by 32 points early in the second half. A 14-0 run, with half the points coming from Brent Darby, helped cut the deficit in half with 7:58 left. But Ohio State never got the lead under double digits and fell to 1-5 on the road this season.

Self said it shouldn't have been that close.

''I felt like the general consensus was, 'Hey Coach, what's the big deal? We're up,''' he said. ''That's not how I look at it all.''

Playing without reserve center Nick Smith, out with a sore foot, Illinois got help off the bench from Powell. The sophomore was 5-of-5 for the Illini, who shot 50 percent from the field. Illinois also went 12-of-28 from 3-point range and held the Buckeyes (11-10, 4-6) to 31 percent shooting.

''We came out with a lot more passion on the defensive end and pressured them out of their sets,'' Cook said. ''Our intensity on the defensive end was incredible.''

Darby lead the Buckeyes with 20 points, but was just 6-of-21 from the field.

Ohio State's zone defense frustrated Illinois early, collapsing on Cook and James Augustine in the post and forcing the Illini to shoot long jumpers. That didn't last long.

Held to one field goal over the first three minutes, Illinois quickly adjusted and outscored the Buckeyes 14-0 over the next 5:02. Cook started the run with two free throws, and Dee Brown and Sean Harrington made consecutive 3-pointers to give the Illini a 17-1 lead.

With Illinois working the ball inside and out for open looks, it didn't matter what Ohio State did. Nothing was falling.

The Buckeyes missed their first eight shots and were held without a field goal the first 6:45 of the game.

''I think the game was lost within the first eight minutes,'' Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien said. ''They came out seemingly like gangbusters. We really needed to keep pace early and we couldn't do that.''

After a basket by Ohio State's Matt Sylvester made it 17-3, Illinois outscored the Buckeyes 13-3. The Illini held Ohio State to 24 percent shooting in the first half, forced eight turnovers and led 49-22 at halftime.


(11-10):Sylvester 3-8 1-1 8, Jenkins 0-3 0-0 0, Williams 2-7 6-9 10, Darby 6-21 6-8 20, Jernigan 5-13 0-0 13, Bass 2-2 0-0 4, Fuss-Cheatham 0-1 0-0 0, Salley 1-2 0-0 2, Smith 0-0 0-2 0, Marinchick 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 19-61 13-20 57.


(16-4):Head 4-6 2-2 11, Cook 8-17 4-5 22, Augustine 1-5 1-2 3, Williams 4-8 0-0 12, Brown 1-5 0-0 3, Ferguson 0-0 0-2 0, Harrington 2-5 2-2 8, Howard 0-0 0-0 0, Huge 0-0 0-0 0, Wilson 1-1 0-0 3, Thomas 0-0 0-0 0, Powell 5-5 3-4 14. Totals 26-52 12-17 76.

Halftime--Illinois 49-22. 3-Point goals--Ohio St. 6-21 (Jernigan 3-10, Darby 2-7, Sylvester 1-4), Illinois 12-28 (Williams 4-7, Harrington 2-5, Cook 2-6, Wilson 1-1, Powell 1-1, Head 1-3, Brown 1-4, Augustine 0-1). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--Ohio St. 33 (Bass 6), Illinois 33 (Augustine 9). Assists--Ohio St. 9 (Darby 4), Illinois 18 (Williams 5). Total fouls--Ohio St. 17, Illinois 19. A--16,500.